10 Steps You Need to Take Before Starting a Diet

Before you start your weight loss journey, do these things first!

May 16, 2017
weight loss plan
Shutterstock

Adapted from Tighten Your Tummy in 2 Weeks

You have the tools, have started to plan, and are eager to get going on your fat loss resolution, but you may be sabotaging those steps if you don't consider all aspects of weight loss. 

More: 6 Quick & Easy Ways to Lose Fat Fast

So before you start out on your weight loss jouney, remember these steps to set yourself up for likely success: 

weight measurement doctor
Shutterstock
1. Consult with your physician

Be sure your doctor knows you are going on a weight loss program. Let her examine it so she understands what's involved. She may want to give you a physical if she hasn't given you one in the last year, so make sure you're getting the most out of your doctor's checkup.

couples workout
Shutterstock
2. Recruit a friend

Although it is certainly possible to get great results going through a program by yourself, you'll probably lose more pounds and inches if you team up with a friend or several friends. You and your friend should try to shop together, exercise together, walk together, and share each other's problems. Studies show that people who exercise together tend to stick with programs longer and achieve greater results because they motivate each other. 

More: 6 Quick & Easy Ways to Lose Fat Fast

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
 
measuring waist
Shutterstock
3. Take measurements

You and your diet partner can best do the measurements together. In a private room, slip on your smallest bikini. A bikini works better than a one-piece bathing suit because it reveals your entire midsection. With a bathroom scale handy and a tape measure, record your "before," or starting, measurements and fill in the "after" number when you've completed the Tighten Your Tummy in 2 Weeks program. 

Take all the measurements standing with your weight equally distributed on both feet. Apply the tape firmly, do not compress the skin, keep it parallel to the floor, and record the measurement to the nearest 1/8 inch. You'll be taking circumference measurements at three levels: a high, a middle, and a low. Some women lose their fat at a greater or lesser degree from one or two of those levels, and you'll want to be aware of the differences.

pinch test
Shutterstock
4. Do the pinch test

You can get a fair estimate of your percent body fat by doing the pinch test. The pinch test for women requires taking two measurements, the first one on the back of the upper arm and the second beside the navel. Here's the procedure to follow:

1. Locate the first skin-fold site on the back of the right upper arm (triceps area) midway between the shoulder and elbow. Let the arm hang loosely at the side.

2. Grasp a vertical fold of skin between the thumb and first finger. Pull the skin and fat away from the arm. Make sure the fold includes just skin and fat and no muscle. 

More: A 5-Part Formula for Weight Loss Success

3. Use a ruler to measure the thickness of the skin to the nearest quarter of an inch. Be sure and measure the distance between the thumb and the finger. Sometimes the outer portion of the fold is thicker than the flesh grasped between the fingers. To avoid this, make sure the fold is level with the side of the thumb. Do not press the ruler against the skin. This will flatten it and make it appear thicker than it really is.

4. Record two separate measurements of the triceps skin-fold thick- ness, releasing the skin between each measure, and calculate the average of the two.

5. Locate the second skin-fold site, which is immediately adjacent to the right side of the navel.

6. Grasp a vertical fold of skin between the thumb and first finger and follow the same technique as previously described. 

More: Little-Known Tips For Losing Weight & Keeping It Off

7. Record two separate measurements of the abdominal skin-fold thickness and calculate the average of the two.

8. Add the average triceps skin-fold to the average abdominal skin- fold. This is your combined total.

9. Estimate the percentage of body fat and record it.

10. Determine fat loss at the end of 6 weeks by multiplying percentage of body fat times body weight for the before-and-after tests. For example, if a woman weighed 168 pounds with 28 percent body fat at the start of the program, that's 47.04 pounds of fat. If she completed the program at 150 pounds and 18 percent body fat, that's 27 pounds of fat. The difference between 47.04 and 27 is 20.04 pounds.

More: 10 Ways to Train Your Taste Buds for Weight Loss

11. Figure the amount of muscle gain by subtracting the weight loss from the fat loss. In the example above, where fat loss equaled 20.04 pounds and weight loss was 18 pounds, 2.04 pounds of muscle were gained.

More than 25 percent of the body weight of most Americans is composed of fat. An ideal amount of body fat for most men is 12 percent. The average young woman's ideal status is 18 percent. Lean, athletic men and women may desire to lower their ideal figures by another 5 or 6 percentage points.

weight loss photo
Shutterstock
5. Take full-body photographs

There is no better way to evaluate your current condition than to have full-body photographs taken of yourself in a bikini. Digital cameras are easy to use. Here are the best procedures to follow:

1. Wear a solid-color bikini.

2. Stand against an uncluttered, light-colored background.

3. Direct the person with the camera to move away from you until your entire body is visible in the viewfinder. It's best for that person to be 15 to 20 feet from you and zoom in with the camera lens. The camera should be turned sideways for a vertical format. It's also best for the photographer to be seated with the camera approximately 3 feet off the floor.

More: 7 Questions to Ask Before You Start a Diet

4. Stand relaxed for two pictures: front and right side. Do not try to suck in your stomach.

5. Interlace your fingers and place them on top of your head, so the contours of your torso will be plainly visible. Keep your feet 8 inches apart for the front and back shots, but together on the side picture.

6. Download the digital "before" photos onto your computer. Crop the best ones tightly into a 3-inch-by-6-inch size.

More: 5 'Weight Loss Tips' That Experts Say Actually Suck

7. Retake the photos 6 weeks later, following the same directions, with the same bathing suit and camera.

8. Download your "after" images onto your computer.

9. Crop and make the prints the same size as the "before" ones. Your height in both sets of photos should be precisely the same.

 
 
grocery shopping
Shutterstock
6. Visit your favorite supermarket

Eating plans are fairly detailed by they also require the least amount of preparation. Furthermore, all the foods can be purchased from almost any large supermarket. You will, however, need to become well acquainted with certain sections of the store (so use these grocery store tricks to maximize your health).

measuring cups
Shutterstock
7. Use measuring spoons, cups, and a small scale

Most people overestimate one-half cup of orange juice, one tablespoon of raisins, or one ounce of mozzarella cheese. Such practices lead to inaccurate calorie counting and inefficient fat loss. It is important to become familiar with and correctly use measuring spoons, cups, and food scales. 

These items can be purchased inexpensively at your local department store or supermarket (and they're one of the most necessary weight loss tools). With food scales, however, you'd be well advised to spend more money on a battery-operated, digital scale instead of the less expensive, spring-loaded type. 

More: 7 Kitchen Must-Haves for a Successful Diet

vitamin
Shutterstock
8. Take a vitamin-mineral pill each day

You should take one multiple-vitamin-with-minerals tablet each morning while you are eating a reduced-calorie diet (just make sure you follow these rules before taking any new supplement). The tablet should contain calcium and iron. High-potency supplements and super-stress formulas are a waste of money.

 
 
reading restaurant menu
Shutterstock
9. Examine the menus, recipes, and shopping lists

Glance through the menus, recipes, and shopping lists for an overview of what you'll be eating during the programs. Your results will be better if you plan ahead.

More: 6 Restaurant Tricks for Weight Loss

focused workout
Shutterstock
10. Get serious

You've done your tests and measurements, and you've made certain purchases. Plus, you've familiarized yourself with what to expect. Now it's time to get serious. Sit quietly and think about your goals. Visualize success. Give yourself a pep talk if it helps. It's time to lose significant pounds and inches.

See Next